Argentina favorite after quarter-final upset – Stats Perform AI predicts final

The upheavals continued in the quarter-finals of the World Cup as two powers fell apart in the last eight.

Pre-tournament favorites Brazil faced the misery of a penalty shoot-out loss to Croatia, whose hopes of advancing to a second consecutive final are still alive.

Far more than that upset, however, Morocco followed up their stunning victory over Spain by ending Iberia’s participation in the tournament with a shock loss to Portugal, sending Cristiano Ronaldo out of perhaps their final World Cup in tears.

France and Argentina nearly swelled their lines against England and the Netherlands, respectively, and are expected to play in the final.

But will these expectations be met?

Stats Perform’s AI model has been updated to give the latest prediction as to who will lift the trophy at Lusail Stadium on December 18.

Let’s find out the results…

FAVOURITES: Argentina (40.6%)

Is it finally time for Lionel Messi? Events on the pitch and the numbers arguably suggest Argentina’s greatest ever player will add the finishing touches to his CV in what will likely be his last World Cup.

The Albiceleste managed to win in spectacular fashion as they surrendered a two-goal lead to the Netherlands to win on penalties and book their place in the last four.

With Brazil failing to do so and missing out on a successful semi-final with their arch-rivals, Argentina’s path to a first title since 1986 is meant to be much easier, and their chances reflect that.

Argentina have a 67.2% chance of reaching the final and a 40.6% chance of winning World Cup number three.

As they proved by knocking out Brazil, however, Croatia will likely make things a lot tougher than the model suggests.

2.France (35.2%)

The defending champions were far from convincing as they knocked out England to keep their hopes of keeping the trophy alive, needing a missed penalty from Harry Kane to prevent the last-eight encounter going into extra time.

After going through this tough ordeal, France have the best chance of qualifying for the final, with Les Bleus considered to have a 69% chance of beating Morocco in the semi-finals.

Still, with their percentage chance of winning the tournament nearly five points lower than Argentina’s, it’s clear that Messi and Co are seen as the stronger team.

France won the last meeting with Argentina at a World Cup, beating them 4-2 in the last 16 of 2018 en route to glory in Russia.

3. Croatia (14%)

The World Cup penalty kings are set to contest a second straight final but the model expects a clash with Argentina to be a step too far for Croatia.

Croatia have a 32.8 per cent chance of defeating Lionel Scaloni’s side and, given a 14 per cent chance of ending their wait for a first world title, there is little confidence they can sustain a potential victory in the last four by beating France.

Zlatko Dalic’s men, however, have made a habit of proving people wrong.

And they also beat Argentina in 2018, earning a 3-0 victory in their second group stage match. This last meeting will certainly be much less routine.

4. Morocco (10.1%)

The Atlas Lions are the ultimate surprise of the World Cup, becoming the first African nation in history to reach the semi-finals.

Whatever happens now, they can look back on this remarkable achievement with great pride.

A berth in the third-place play-off looks more likely than a berth in the showpiece. Morocco have a 31% chance of stunning the defending champions, according to the model, with odds of winning just over 10%.

After keeping clean sheets against Croatia, Belgium, Spain and Portugal, Morocco will be hoping their defensive solidity will give them a place in the final that no one would have thought possible.

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